Review: Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes


5 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

Like any large scale fantasy novel, Falling Kingdoms has its fair share of characters, families and feuds. Although compared to a series such as A Song of Ice and Fire it’s only a handful of characters, I was very grateful for the character list at the beginning of the book. Despite some initial confusion with the characters, the world which Morgan Rhodes has created drew me in pretty quickly. It’s not a particularly original fantasy world – several kingdoms and warring peoples, magic, royal families – but it was definitely one that worked well and kept me reading.

The story follows members of three different families: Cleo, whose fiancee caused the strife; Jonas, whose brother was murdered, beginning the uneasy relations between the three kingdoms; Lucia and Magnus, siblings with a dark background. Generally, I really liked all of the point-of-view characters – there was a real mix of personalities and goals, and it never really felt like one character was ‘better’ than the other. There were no real good or bad characters when it came to the POV characters: they all had their own reasons for doing what they were doing. The dynamic of Lucia and Magnus’ relationship reminded me of that of Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia, as portrayed in the TV series The Borgias. Slowly, the stories of each family begin to intertwine, bringing around the conclusion and opening up the story for the second book.

Morgan Rhodes is not afraid of writing in shocking moments and sudden deaths (like another certain fantasy writer I can think of…), and this one was of the qualities that made the book stand out. The author is not afraid to shock, or potentially upset the reader – there is no pandering down to keep the reader happy.

My main complaint about the book was one of the romances felt really lacklustre, a bit too Romeo and Juliet, teenage angsty. I also feel like I could predict the next romance, so I hope I’m wrong! I also have no idea who is supposed to be on the cover, as there certainly weren’t any assassin type characters for the majority of the book.

The cover of the version I read claimed that the book was ‘A Game of Thrones for young adults’. I really hate comparisons like this – it makes it seem that all books coming out these days are practically rip-offs of other series, when what we really want is originally. I get the comparison here in as far as it is a political fantasy (although nowhere near as in-depth as A Song of Ice and Fire, plus there are the shifting point-of-views and a higher than average body count… but really, it’s a very different story and probably just a decision on the behalf of the publishers, trying to sell more copies by comparing it to the ‘next big thing’. Overall, I really loved the book. It pulled me in straight away and I rushed through the story, eager for each new chapter and event – and I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.


10 thoughts on “Review: Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes”

  1. “My main complaint about the book was one of the romances felt really lacklustre, a bit too Romeo and Juliet, teenage angsty.”

    ^ That was one of my issues with the book. Romance aside, it was a good read. Even though there were times I wanted to shake some of the characters (Cleo in particular) I honestly couldn’t put it down. Great review!

    1. Yes! There’s a bit where she basically just gives up, and I wanted to scream at her to pull herself together.

      I wonder if we’ll get more from Lucia’s POV in the next book?

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  2. Yay, another blogger who really enjoyed this. It just felt like a lot of the reviews I’ve seen on goodreads and elsewhere were lackluster and meh about it. Anyway, I personally thought the comparison to ASoIaF was total bunk. To date, I find no description for any book/movie/show whatever comparing to GRRM has lived up to that promise. And honestly, this book could have stood on its own merits without it. Yes, it was a little cheesy, but it was right up my alley. I wish more YA had this high fantasy setting and feel to it 🙂

    1. Yes! I checked it out on GR after getting it from the library and felt a little sad that it had quite a few in-the-middle reviews. Maybe that was why it impressed me even more, because I was going in not expecting much due to GR?

      But yeah – I hate all these comparisons. I swear EVERY YA dystopian book is now labelled as ‘the new Hunger Games’ even if it’s nothing like it at all.

      Definitely want more YA fantasy. There was a lot of dystopian, now it seems to be moving to more space travel stuff. Have you read Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series?

  3. I’ve been wanting to read this one since it first came out and still haven’t gotten around to it. I’m glad you enjoyed this one for the most part – despite the lackluster romance, and possibly predicting another future pairing >.< It's kind of weird that even after reading this you have no idea who that's supposed to be on the cover there o.O More than anything, I like the sound of how this one sucked you in and kept you reading compulsively – can't beat that! I'm a sucker for stories about magic, war and politics though, despite how familiar some of them sound…like this one hehe. Anyways thanks for the lovely, insightful review ^^ hopefully the series will improve as it progresses!

    1. I’d been wanting to read it that long too – in fact I’m sure I requested it on Netgalley and got rejected. I just happened to spot it in the library so grabbed it =)

      No, I really have no clue =/ Unless it’s one of the ladies at the VERY beginning, but I don’t think so somehow.

      Hope you get to pick this one up soon, Micheline! 🙂

  4. I’m so happy that you enjoyed this too! This is actually one of my favorite reads! As soon as I was done with reading it I went out and bought book 2, Rebel Springs. I still haven’t read it yet b/c I’m waiting until book 3, Gathering Darkness, comes out in December. I probably read it right before the release date so the story will be fresh!
    Believe me, IT’S KILLING ME!!! lol
    Thanks for the review! And YAY for Falling Kingdom ♥
    xoxo Michelle @Book Hangovers

    1. Ahh, I wasn’t sure if book three was out yet – so you’ve answered my question there! 😛

      Glad to hear you enjoyed this one too, seems like we’re quite split on this 😉

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